Before you get to Romania, you have to survive Texas

Night Writer note: The Reverend Mother is one of the adult leaders of the Global Expeditions-Teen Mania youth mission trip to Romania. As such she had to report to the GE campus a couple of days ahead of the young missionaries for special training, though she wasn’t sure what this was to entail. Apparently she’s found out, and files this report:

Our team consists of about 10 people. Two Project Directors, four Team Leaders and about six Missionary Advisor Candidates. The actual Missionary Advisors (MAs) will be chosen during the training by the Project Directors. Our leader is a runner and in very good condition. I estimate him to be about 40. He made us do a light jog to the ropes course, about 1/5 of a mile. I’m no runner, but at least I didn’t keel over or anything, even though it’s very hot.

The first exercise required us to lift a tire from the ground off of an eight foot pole using nothing but ourselves. The tire and our bodies could never touch the pole. The facilitator of this little piece of torture would also give us random limitations, such as some of our group were blind or missing limbs, or couldn’t speak. It was frustrating, but we did it. We decided as a group that what we needed to take from that activity was teamwork and communication.

The next exercise required us to escape from a roped off area between four trees. The rope was about waist high and was ‘electric’ and below the rope was invisible razor wire so it was pretty deadly. If any parts of our bodies touched the ‘electric wire’ that part was gone. We lost some legs and arms and one guy lost his back. That must have hurt. Then a few of us, including me, ended up blind for some reason that I can no longer recall. We were at the mercy of the facilitator.

Ultimately we made a “step” on the inside of the enclosure and got the first person out, then that person became a “step” on the outside and many of us were able to ‘walk’ over with a great deal of assistance from our team mates. I was ‘blind’ when I went over. The biggest challenges were getting our 300 lb team member out and getting the last person out. We did have the use of a four-foot long 2×4 and got her out using that. Two guys held it above the wire across a corner and she managed to hoist herself onto it and then they shifted it over far enough for her to hop down on the outside. It was much more difficult than it sounds, because at no time could anything touch the wire.

Here is most of our group, Sunday night after dinner.
(Kevin – Angelo is the dark-haired guy fourth from the left. Thanks, NW.)

The last activity required us all to scale a ten-foot wall using only our bodies and again some people ‘lost’ the use of limbs at the discretion of the facilitator. We didn’t manage to get everyone over within the time-frame allotted, but we did get Dan, the big guy, over, which was nothing short of miraculous. We got over by climbing up two of our team members who stood against the wall and then others hoisted us each up till we could gain enough purchase to stand up on their shoulders and then reach up to the people above us so they could pull us up. Once you got up onto the guy’s shoulders and reached up you really didn’t have to do much but just allow yourself to be pulled up and over. The first person however, had to get themselves up there with no one to pull him. Obviously, that was one of the more athletic guys in our group.

After each activity we would discuss what we had done, how we could do it better, and the things that we needed to take away from the process to use when we get on the field. I guess I can see the application to the team work we will be involved in while taking sixty 11 – 13 year olds to a foreign country. Btw, this is the first time GE has taken people this young abroad. I’m trying to gear myself up for a lot of work. The missionaries are arriving today and when they get here its going to get very hectic!

3 thoughts on “Before you get to Romania, you have to survive Texas

  1. I found out yesterday while inputing data about our trip that we only have 28 total youth going to Romania. I’m glad it’s not the 50 – 60 that I originally thought. Some of the trips to other places have hundreds going. I can’t imagine that logistical nightmare.

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